What's happening to your pet? It's very easy to forget them in the hustle and bustle of planning a trip. Advance planning is the key.
Kennels and catteries
One of the best ways to make sure your cat or dog will get reliable care is to board it at a reputable kennel or cattery. Visit several of these establishments in advance so you can see for yourself what they are like. You can find them by asking your vet or ask your local SPCA branch to recommend one.
Reputable kennels will want to ensure that your animal has been vaccinated by a vet and has an up-to-date certificate of inoculation. Make sure that you book a space well in advance or you could be disappointed. You should also make sure that you or the kennels have an insurance scheme in case your pet needs emergency care. The kennel should also be given your vet's name and telephone number and a number where you can be contacted in case of emergencies.
Taking your pet with you
If you are holidaying in Ireland you may be able to take your pet with you. Click here for a list of Pet-Friendly Holiday locations in Ireland, or check with a local Tourist Board that might list holiday accommodation where you and your pet can feel at home. Dogs and cats can become sick and distressed during long journeys. Ask your vet for advice on tranquillizers. You could also try and get your pet used to the car before the journey takes place.
Your dog will need regular stops for exercise and water. Cats should be kept in a proper travelling box throughout the journey and not allowed to roam in strange locations. Animals should not be left in cars on warm or sunny days - they could die. Your pet should also have an identity disk giving your holiday address.
If friends offer to take care of your animals while you are away make sure they understand what is involved - will your pet be welcomed by all members of the friend's family and will it get on well with other pets? Cats may be happier staying in their own homes. But a responsible friend or neighbour will need to visit at least twice a day to feed and water it. The best thing would be if a friend or relative could come and stay in your absence.
Caged birds, rabbits, hamsters and guinea pigs can be looked after by friends and neighbours, but you must leave clear instructions on how to look after them including keeping them out of direct sunlight. Always leave your holiday telephone number and the name and telephone number of your vet.